--- On Sun, 5/29/11, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > Interesting indeed! I've never read Tolkien's letters
> or
> > even much beyond Silmarilion. (Though I much enjoyed
> > Farmer Giles of Ham!) But I've also long had the
> inkling
> > that natural languages are also "constructed" -- just
> > not constructed in the way we do with our little
> > projects.
> Yes, and this applies even more so to written forms of
> language, especially if some 'literary standard' is
> derived.
> I and others IIRC have observed that Classical Latin was
> probably no one's spoken L1.

Right. I've read this as well.

> The language of the King James
> was deliberately based on the English of a century or so
> earlier than the translation; the translators did not want
> the translation to be in mundane contemporary English of
> their time but in a "timeless English" (actually an
> impossibility - but they tried). I have no doubt one could
> give many similar examples from other languages.

Odd. As if Jesus made his pronouncements in Davidic Hebrew rather than
everday Aramaic!

Well, given how well the KJV is still prefered and even loved by many
Christians, I think they may have done a better job of it than perhaps
you give credit! I don't like the translation too well myself, but I have
to admit to a certain loftiness and timelessness about it -- the same
exact words and diction that countless preachers have been declaiming and
congregants have been hearing for centuries.

> >> Even _glossopoeia_ is ancient - though in ancient
> >> Greek it is found with the meaning "the making of
> >> mouth-pieces [for woodwind instruments]"  ;)
> >
> > Curious: is this still the term used in modern Greek
> for
> > this activity?
> >
> I doubt it very much. Ιn the ancient language the basic
> meaning of _glossa_ was 'tongue' - there were two derived
> meanings: (a) language; (b) anything shaped like a tongue.

Well, a clarinetist does caress the instrument's beak with his tongue! :S

> > And: did it apply only to woodwind instruments, or
> also
> > to what we now call "brass" instruments -- horns and
> > similar? I don't think the ancient Greek
> trumpet-analogue
> > had a complicated mouthpiece the way their reed pipes
> did
> As you say, horns and so forth didn't have complicated
> mouth 
> pieces. The _glossai_ are the tongue-shaped reeds of in the
> mouth pieces of pipes.

Yep. Even in English, the association between reeds and tongues is not
lost. I'm just happy the head straps are long forgotten!

> Ray